Why are we here?
Why do the nations rage?
Why do the wicked prosper?
Where do wars come from?
Who am I Lord?
What must I do to be saved?
Revival, how long Lord?
In all our questions you have the answers.
Help us to keep asking questions.
Help us to listen.
Help us to be still and know that you are God.

Notes on Cosmic Agape

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 ESVNotes on Cosmic Agape:

Abba is generous to his people. Three times He gives us heaven: At Eden, at Calvary, and in Eternity.

In the story of Noahs Ark one man and his family were saved in a wooden vessel. Others perished refusing to be saved.

At the Cross one man dies on a wooden Cross to save the human family. He is not willing that any should perish. Though, alas, some may choose to.

The heart of Abba is Agape. Jesus His beloved son says he is one with the Father. In effect one son volunteers to be a sacrafice to have a shot at saving all the other children. He knows there is one way. In the garden he asks the cup to pass from Him if there is any other way. But, in that moment He knows Abba’s will, that humanity be given a chance.

Would we be so brave?

The Father is not willing that any should perish, even if it costs. The trinity is a community. So Abba suffers with the son. He does not turn His face away. Each lash, jibe, and nail he feels. Just as any father who is good would.
Would we be so brave?

There is a call to all of humanity to:
Believe in the Father’s love (agape).
Recieve the Father’s love (agape).
Reflect the Father’s love (agape) to God and others.

Will you be so brave?
How will you respond?

“O the deep, deep love of Jesus! Spread his praise from shore to shore;
how he loveth, ever loveth,
changeth never, nevermore;
how he watches o’er his loved ones,
died to call them all his own;
how for them he intercedeth,
watcheth o’er them from the throne.”
– S. Trevor Francis

Rest and be thankful

Another blog post from the archives, I think from 2019. Brings back memories.
I had a lovely walk with my beautiful wee boy recently. He did very well, being carried and walking all the way. Next time, however, I will choose a different route or perhaps take a buggy. Duddingston is a beautiful old vintage village in Edinburgh. The architecture is very old world. Our first stop was Dr Neil’s Gardens. Full of lovely stone paths and pretty flowers, set in the midst of a wildlife reserve. We didn’t have enough cash so didn’t manage to sample from the cafe, but will next time hopefully. We visited the old Kirk and picked up a couple of bookmarks made by Amos Christian Trust, who also made Ezra’s dedication invites this year. After that we journeyed past the Sheep’s Heid up a hill to the community gardens where there are apple trees and chickens. We came here when he was even smaller and just started to walk (picture below). We kept going up the hill stopping at a bench with a sign that fittingly said “Rest and be thankful” which is what we did. The view was amazing, but the route we finally took down revealed a much more incredible view of the ocean and another Edinburgh skyline. We entered a more modern part of the village and to a local shop for snacks before heading home. The rain managed to stay off through out. It is a beautiful walk and I recommend it to anyone who is able. The phrase “Rest and be thankful” also lingered much of that day in my thoughts. It is sound advice.

He watches over us

This Old blog post from 2019 brought back memories:
“He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11

Lately I haven’t posted anything here due to being fairly busy. Busy in a good way. On the 17th September 2019 God blessed my wife and I with a baby girl and Ezra with a baby sister. Both Mum and Baby are doing well, though being kept in hospital for some issues. So proud and full of love for them both.

We announced our new arrival online as follows:
“We are absolutely delighted to announce that our daughter Lilianna Blanche Holdsworth was born today at 2:45pm weighing 6lbs13oz. She is just beautiful.”

I don’t have an in depth reflection for today or anything particularly creative to write. My only thought for now is that God watches over His people. I could never have imagined years ago that at some point I would be married to my childhood sweetheart (well teen hood anyway). Nor that I would one day have a baby boy and baby girl. It has been an incredible adventure so far. In it all at various points it does seem that God or His angels have been there with us on our journeys together.

The verse I opened with appeared in my memories on Facebook from 6 years ago. It was a blessing to stumble upon it again today.

I am eternally grateful that He will command His angels concerning us to guard us in all our ways.

Love, love, love

“All you need is love”, the song says, “all you need is love.” A simple yet hard truth. A Rabbi once said “Love, the rest is commentary.” Yet we struggle in our own strength. In order to truly love God (who is love) and others (who are all created in His image), we best ask Him to be love through us, to be our strength.

“Beware of works religion”, I hear the hardcore preacher say. Well, let’s be very clear, all Christians are called to love and this manifests in fruit. Indeed we are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. But, this is not so we may warm pews and ignore a broken and needy world at our doorstep.

“Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell;
I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell.”—C. T. Studd

God has saved us for a purpose, His purpose. He has called us to love and good deeds. To be lights in the darkness. To love as He does. Let us Love, love, love!

Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV):
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Sacrifice

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

The sacrifice of lambs and goats couldn’t do it. Mere religion and ritual simply wouldn’t suffice. In steps Jesus. The God Man and gives of his own self, blood, sacrifice. The ancient priests use to lay hands on a lamb in perperatioin for slaughter and sacrifice. This symbolised the sins of the people being laid on the lamb. In a similar way Jesus takes the sins of the world on himself and becomes the final and only true sacrifice. His blood is poured out on the cross. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. All this so that we may be forgiven our sins and iniquities as he manifests his love and grace to us.

If we render unto God…

If we render unto God all the things that belong to God, there would be nothing left for Caesar’ (Dorothy Day)I find Dorothy Day’s interpretation excellent when it comes to the possible meaning of Mark 12:17. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply completely amazed them.” (NLT) What if the whole point is that he (Caesar, ‘the man’) owns nothing? Sure he’ll have his coin for a time, but not for long. He can have his stinking taxes. Will it bring him glory? Will it lift his empire to be greater than the Kingdom of God? “No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.” (Is 40:15 NLT)

Three Sixteen

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16 – 18)

What is the context?
In Theological College they often emphasised the importance of context when reading and applying scriptures. So the context is this: Everything was created by God. Jesus was the inspiration. He was at the beginning. There was harmony. The light was come into the world. But, the world didn’t recognise him. (See Jn 1:1-3, 9). Humanity had a wonderful relationship with God and was appointed as earth’s stewards. It was amazingly good. We had life (knowledge & experience of Him) purpose (stewardship of earth/creation) and choice (free will). (Gen 1:26-31) But, by humanity’s choice this relationship was broken by rebellion. Amazingly good to amazingly bad. That story continues now in these verses.
John 3:16 is considered one of the most famous verses in the Bible. In the verse we find word of love, a benevolent Father and Son and a choice.
What is the object of God’s love?
We the world are the object of God’s love. His vast as oceans self-giving love.
What does he give?
He gives His Son. He gives Himself. In the words of Jesus “I and the Father are one.” I don’t subscribe to the notion that the Father turned His face away. Or if He did it would have been with tears of empathy and compassion, not in wrath or separation. Indeed even earthly Father’s would also suffer if they sacraficed their son for others. The whole Trinity is concerned for us to be saved.
“Each of the three Persons in the blessed Trinity is concerned with our salvation: with the Father it is predestination; with the Son propitiation; with the Spirit regeneration. The Father chose us; the Son died for us; the Spirit quickens us.”
– A. W. Pink (1886-1952)

Why the sacrafice?
To save us from our sin and rebellion and the inevitable consequences thereof.
What future will you choose?
You have free will, you have a choice. We all know all things are perishing. Those who don’t believe are condemned already. It is like an illness that has spread to all humanity, but has a cure. The cure needs to be applied. The word perish means to be cut off from God. Without Jesus humanity is automatically condemned, cut off. With Jesus salvation is on offer. Instead of loss of life eternal life is on offer. His permanent presence. The ultimate cure. A gift and invitation from the giving reconciling Father is presented to you.
Belief is the pivot. (See Col 1:19,20). God desires all things are to be reconciled to Himself. Those who are in this new heaven and new earth have trusted in Christ alone for salvation and not in their own “righteousness.” Choose life, choose Christ.

The Beauty of Salvation

The beauty of salvation is that the Lord saves us by his own merciful grace. But, being saved does not excuse us from good works. On the contrary as his handiwork we are created for good works. To produce good fruit. To be blessed and be a blessing. God has even set the path before us with opportunities to serve him and others. To be lights of love, in a world where dark and hate can be so prominent. We are not saved by works, but we sure are saved by grace to do them.

What in the world?

“Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.” (From the Message paraphrase of Phil 2).

“What in the world?”

It is the phrase that comes to mind during family, school ground, work place, media and halls of power politics, alike.

In the world where joy is stolen by human bad behaviour.

In the world where fights and arguments break out daily from the home to the halls of power.

In this world we are to be lights. To show it a more excellent way.

This is no easy task, but by His grace may each of us be able to respond to “What in the world?” with a glimpse of another world.

A better world.